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tv   Washington Journal Matt Nelson  CSPAN  January 24, 2022 7:03pm-7:29pm EST

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the inspector general testified on challenges coming -- in the coming year. watch his testimony tonight at 9:45 eastern. find full coverage on our video app, c-span now. a new mobile video app from c-span. c-span now. download today. >> matthew nelson is the government relations director for electrify america. good morning. matthew: good morning, thanks for having me. pedro: what specifically do you
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do and what is your role in the space and it comes to elected vehicles? matthew: electrify america is the largest provider of public d.c. fast charging. the fastest is that elektra -- elected vehicle charging in the united states. we did not exist five years ago so we have grown quickly, symbolic of this whole industry growing as quickly as it is. we now without 800 stations and more than 3500 chargers that provide what we refer to as ultrafast charging. chargers that have three to 50 kilowatts of power on them. for those of you that are not electrical engineers, that equates to about 20 miles of range for every minute of charging. it is not quite as fast as consumers are expecting at a gas station, but it is pretty darn close. you have the ability to pull into a station, plug-in, get a
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cup of coffee, maybe use the restroom, come back out in your car is refueled. we think that this moves towards the faster, what we call ultrafast charging, which is critically important for ev adoption more generally. pedro: is that enough to meet demand as far as current and future people buying electric vehicles? matthew: it is definitely not. we have 3005 hundred ultrafast charters open today, but we are opening a station every, almost every day. we are opening about four stations per week at each station has usually six to 10 chargers at it. the president has set a very ambitious goal of 500,000 charging stations by 2030. we think that's an achievable goal with a partnership between the public sector investment in
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the private sector. congress recently through the pipe artisan infrastructure law, provided $7.5 billion or $40 billion of total investment. we want people to be able to drive the electric car as their primary car and not worry about whether there is a charging station. we need to be as convenient as the gas station model and they have a 100 year advantage on us. pedro: you mentioned the money from the interceptor law. i met -- i suppose you hear people talk about it, wife of the government support eb chargers if you don't drive and elected vehicle? matthew: it is a good question. from our perspective, there are
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two significant reasons why it makes sense for there to be public investment in ev charging stations. we first is that for normal folks, we want them to be able to and adopt an electric car without it being a sacrifice. that car needs to do everything in their life. it needs to get them to their favorite national park on summer vacation, it needs to get them to grandma's house on the weekend, and for that to be true, we need infrastructure to support those longer strips along our nation corridor. the second really important thing that i think gets less attention is that only about half of the cars in the u.s. ark overnight where there is electricity. the rest part in the street or any parking garage or any rental unit. those folks who do not have an ability to park at home in charge at home, public
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investment in charging creates the opportunity for that half of america to also drive electric cars. people love electric cars. they are fun off the line, they are quiet, they don't shake, they don't vibrate, and this challenge of providing infrastructure, the challenge of providing charging, so that all americans can go electric without it being a sacrifice is critically important. the role of the public sector is twofold. provide the travel network, similar to the highway system itself, and the second to address the equity issue having half of americans with the easy ability to charge at home and the other half of americans needing somewhere else to charge. pedro: if you want to call and ask him questions, go ahead
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with your question or comment. >> one question, one comment. how are you going to get -- where are you building your current stations now? is a east coast or central or scattered around the country? matthew: that is a great question, a very important question. electrify america has taken a national approach. we have stations across 46 states today. we will be growing to the entire contiguous united states by the end of the year. our approach has been, where people drive, they need to be served by an electric vehicle charging station. we have focused on primarily
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court charging. on highway corridors and rural routes and what we call regionally significant roots. roads like 395 in california or baltimore-washington parkway which is in this area. but bottom line, we are across the entire united states. we think it is not correct to focus just on the coasts. americans live in all 50 states and we need to serve them and every part of the country. pedro: karen and alabama, you are. >> would like to ask the guest a question first. how much funding do you receive from the federal government per year for your research for whatever it is you do? matthew: we are a private company.
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we do not receive any funding from the federal government. we have committed a $2 billion investment over 10 years to building out this infrastructure. over last summer, we announced a plan to expand our investment. we did not put a dollar figure on it, but we said we were going to double besides, actually triple b size of our network up to 10,000 charging stations. we are committed as a private sector actor, to expanding the input structure provided. as the last guest highlighted, there is a need for additional investment beyond what the private sector is currently investing. that is where the public sector investment from the government will be so critical. how the bill is structured, how congress structures it, the funds flow to the states so the
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states will decide how and where to invest those resources. much like they do today with highway and transportation projects. we will see what happens with that. we think that we provide a compelling product that some states might think is the right product, but there are a lot of other providers of charging services as well and we will see where those investments go at the state level. pedro: mr. nelson, how helpful or harmful or states individually as far as electric vehicle charger adoption? can they pass legislation to help or hinder that? matthew: absolutely. one of the most important factors in whether electric vehicles become widespread in a state has become state policies. states that have adopted incentives of all types, one of the most effective has been access to toll roads and bridges
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certain times of day, for example. there are incentives and then there are other policies, such as standards, that have made a significant impact on driving ev adoption. he states that have invested in the charging and protector, for most americans, there needs to be charging infra structure in order for it to be a viable option for their primary car. we states that have led the way on charging and for tend to be the states where consumers are choosing electric vehicles at a higher rate. this is a nationwide growth industry right now. there are more than 2.2 million ev's on the road in the u.s. today. last year sales were through the roof. in fact, the first half of last year, we sold as many electric vehicles in the first half of last year as the entire previous
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year. it is going quickly and it is across all states. even significant growth in hawaii. it is a growing industry across the board. pedro: let's hear from david in milwaukee, wisconsin. you are on, david. go ahead with your question or comment for our guest. >> i have a question. where were you going to get the power from if you are closing all of these coal power plants? how are we going to get the power to power stations and at the same time, get the power to power everybody's home? pedro: thank you, dave. matthew: that is a great question. we power our stations primarily with renewable energy today. in certain parts of the country, it is 100% renewable. other parts of the country, we are in the process of going to
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100%. we have also built a number of solar canopies about our stations. when you pour into a gas station, those canopies are built with solar power. we are able to generate electricity on site and then for the map -- vast majority of the power, we buy it from renewable energy power plants. that is how we power our stations. the renewables industry is growing quickly. we have not found that supplying power to our stations has been a limiting factor on our grid. the utilities have stepped forward. they continue to provide service to our stations. the availability of power has not been a major limiting factor to the growth of the charging industry. a little-known fact, we often get the question of well, what about when the power goes out? gas stations do not work when the powers go out either.
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in many ways, our electric vehicle charging stations are an asset to the grid. we have battery backups at our stations, and they are able to provide what we call virtual powerplant to the grid. charging stations make the grid more reliable. it is a huge benefit to what the really want, which is an electric grid that keeps the power on, even in big storms in texas and fires in california. the charging industry and charging stations themselves are helping with that problem. pedro: there's a researcher at the university of california who talks about electric vehicles. he wrote a piece in which he said, subsidizing a letter vehicles crates unintended consequences that harm the environment and optimal policy would reduce the number of cars on the road, but ev subsidies do the opposite by making electric vehicles cheaper while leaving the price of gasoline cars the same.
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in areas where electricity is generated from fossil fuels, ev subsidies make the wrong signal. drivers respond to the signals in terms of the cars they buy and the amount they drive. if the overall goal is to reduce pollution, ev subsidies are not the best way forward. how would you respond to that? matthew: university of california davis is a leading institution in transportation research, so the source is an important one. what we have found is that the most up-to-date research on emissions from electric vehicles pretty clearly shows that electric vehicles lower emissions. it does depend on where the power comes from. by powering our stations with renewable energy, we know for a fact that the vehicles that we fuel have dramatically lower emissions than if they were powered by oil and gas.
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there is a lot of interesting discussion about how to incentivize ev adoption. one of the key questions is how effective incentives are, and consumer incentives. most of the research we have seen, the leading research paper that we cite is usually the report by the national association of state energy officials, which found that incentives are the most effective policy at driving ev adoption. that is because at the end of the day, this technology is 100 years behind. the gas powered cars have had 100 years to innovate to bring down the cost of their technology. right now, it does still cost more to build in electric car than it does to build a gas powered car. once he gets in the consumer's hands, it has way fewer parts. it doesn't need oil changes, it has way lower maintenance costs, and the fuel is cheaper.
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from a consumer perspective, the challenge of an electric vehicle is a greater upfront capital cost in order to get the benefits of lowering -- lower operating costs. incentives play a huge role in leveling the playing field between the cost of the car upfront and over time, they won't be necessary because electric vehicles are coming down and cost of production. incentives label -- level that playing field between gas and electric cars. pedro: we've invited ev owners to call in and give their perspective. this is jim from new york, newburgh. >> thank you. i had in ev and went back to a hybrid. simply because it fits my lifestyle better. the picture you paint of charging, though, i have to somewhat throw a disagreement in there.
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some of the charging experience i had were really annoying. you could get there, the stations were not up, this is not only electrify america. the credit card reader did not work. you go from machine to machine to try to find one that worked. even in electrify america, one time, the app would not recognize my phone number. next day, would not recognize the phone number. yet the call into support and get something changed. i think it is not as rosy as you paint it. i'm sure it will get better, but i guess i fall into the percentage of people who think that hybrids are still more efficient and more consumer friendly. and more accessible than just going fully electric. i had choices, places to charge my car. talking to people, they will ask you how long does it takes to charge?
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in about 30 minutes, i get 100 miles. they delight, no, i am not waiting 30 minutes. i know you want to get the charging times up as quickly as possible, but is there an issue with 350 kilowatts stations? what is the profitability of those for your company? matthew: the consumer experience is one of the most important factors in creating an incentive for consumers to go electric. the guests point that he tries -- tried electric cars and they were not convenient enough is exactly our core message. in order for regular americans to go electric, we need charging that is ultrafast, extremely dark -- reliable, and using nonproprietary standards.
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those of the three most important criteria for an investment in ev charging that will last. what we call future proofing. the point that was just made is the exact point of where we are now versus where we need to go. the stations are not reliable enough today. the number one concern among ev drivers, according to jd power and associates, they say the number one concern is the reliability of stations. when was the last time you thought to yourself on the way to grandma's house, while driving to a gas powered car, and what if the gas station will work this weekend? it is not even a concern. you just go in when you need gas, you pull over. we need electric charging to be at that standard. is it there today? absolutely not. can i get there? absolutely.
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we need to provide that 350 kilowatts. as the guest pointed out, be cars have not been able to charge at that speed until recently. the average charging speed of new ev models has gone up three times in the last five model years. it is now up to 150 kilowatts average, which is for those who are not electrical engineers, that's nine miles of range per minute. that is the average. the vehicles coming to market that can use the full 350 kilowatts, they can provide 20 miles of range permanent -- per minute. i think the guess we'll find if he buys a new electric vehicle, it is faster, reliability -- reliability has gotten better. he will be able to charge in 15 or 220 units.
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-- 20 minutes. the last point about whether the 300 and 50 kilowatt -- 350 kilowatts station we build along highway corridors. we built more than 300 stations today. we are the first to the boy this technology. when we deployed for the first time, it had never been done before. it is at more than 350 stations in the u.s.. this is the future in our view. pedro: one more call from john in ashland, ohio. >> thank you for taking my call. here is my problem. reliability and the cost of battery replacement. the battery replacement on a vehicle is almost $60,000. people can't afford that.
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charging is just ridiculous. some places it works, some places don't. i have to concur with the previous collar. he is -- collar. it's not reliable. we are going to a hybrid vehicle, also. matthew: well i agree with the caller as i agreed to the last one. we need to be more liable. that's our number one focus as a company, making charging as reliable as possible. it needs to be something you do not have to worry about and think about. we are getting there. reliability is going up industrywide, particularly on our network. this should be, when the government thinks through how to spend the $7.5 billion from our perspective, they need to think about charging speed, but they also need to think about how to make sure they invest in reliable technology. the consumer expects it and deserves it so it is absolutely
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the right question to be asking among consumers and also among government officials. pedro: before we let you go, to that last point, what role does the transportation secretary pete buttigieg play as far as the point of pedro: matthew: a critical role. next month, they got -- department of trans rotation will issue guidance for the states on how they will spend the $7.5 billion. then in may, he will issue standards for how that money is spent. that is an opportunity to really define what is a nationwide network and make sure this is a high quality investment. from our perspective, we think it is a no-brainer but that guidance should highlight three major points. charging needs to be fast enough to stay ahead of the vehicles in the market. it needs to be ultrafast. it needs to be reliable as the last two guests highlighted.
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the third when i did not spend time on, is the stations need to charge all vehicles. all of the brands behind me at this autoshow need to be able to use the same stations. they shouldn't have to pull in, they should not have to look at the sign and decide whether their car is compatible with that station. those three points are the things that pete buttigieg has the chance to push through and his guidance and we hope he does. pedro: mr. nelson, thank you for your time today. matthew: thank you for having me pedro, it has been a pleasure. >> c-span's washington journal. coming up tuesday morning, manhattan institute mark mills
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discusses his book the cloud revolution. detailing how technology and automation will change the future of work and could spur an economic boom. campaign legal centers delaying moscow. watch at seven eastern tuesday morning on c-span or on c-span now, our new local -- mobile app. >> a new mobile video app from c-span. c-span now, download today. >> next, a look at the future of this beam court. from the washington post, this runs one half-hour.

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